Bluff Creek Dental is committed to providing our patients in Minneapolis and the surrounding communities with the best diagnosis and treatment dentistry has to offer, especially when it comes to tooth pain.
At one time or another, you’ve probably experienced some degree of tooth pain, from minor aches and sensitivity to acute distress. In general, the sensation of pain is a protective response that tells the body something is wrong. But when it affects your teeth, the exact source of the pain can be difficult to pinpoint. So what is tooth pain signaling, and what should you do about it?
Causes of Tooth Pain
- Tooth Decay – A bacterial infection that can spread through many parts of the tooth, and even into the gum tissue. The most common cause of dental pain.
- Traumatic Damage
- Gum Disease
- Unknown Stimuli – eating hot or cold foods, going from hot to cold temperatures, earache, etc.
What Should I Do If I Am Experiencing Tooth Pain?
The only sure way to know what’s causing tooth pain is to visit a dentist, who will ask detailed questions about what you’re feeling and perform diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, to try and identify the exact source of the pain. However, there are some general ways to describe the sensations you may be experiencing — and their potential cause.
Types of Tooth Pain
- Moderate Pain
- Severe Pain
Moderate Pain or Toothache
Occasional or momentary sensitivity to hot or cold foods may be caused by a tiny area of decay, a loose filling, or a small amount of gum recession that has exposed the roots of the teeth.
Meanwhile, a severe sinus headache or congestion from colds or flu may cause you to experience symptoms such as a dull ache or pressure in the upper teeth and jaw. When the illness goes away, the dental distress should cease too. Tooth clenching or grinding, also known as bruxism, has also been associated with this type of discomfort. If you have these habits, you may want to have a night guard made at our Minneapolis dental office to protect your teeth and jaws from too much force.
Treatment for Moderate Pain/Toothaches
To alleviate the symptoms, you can try using a soft brush and toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth, for a couple of weeks. If that doesn’t help, call our dental office team to schedule an appointment. Dental treatment itself sometimes causes temporary sensitivity, which can often be relieved by the same methods. If pain persists or grows worse, however, be sure to seek treatment.
Severe Pain/Root Canal Emergencies
Constant, severe pain and pressure, swelling of the gums, and sensitivity to touch indicate an infection in the tooth, possibly accompanied by an abscess (inflamed, pus-filled sac) in the surrounding gum and bone tissue. In this case, it’s important to see a dentist or endodontist right away — not only to relieve the pain, but also to save the tooth while it’s still possible.
Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods usually indicates disease in the pulp tissue deep inside the tooth. Deep decay or physical trauma to the tooth may have allowed bacteria to infect the pulp tissue or compromise the pulp vitality. As nerves inside the pulp tissue die, the pain may go away, but the infection won’t — in fact, it can spread and cause significant damage. Call our dental office as soon as possible to make an appointment to see a dental professional. A root canal may be needed to ease the pain and preserve the tooth. Sharp pain when biting down on food can be caused by severe tooth decay, a loose filling, a crack in the tooth, or possibly by damaged pulp tissue inside the tooth. It should be evaluated by a dentist as soon as possible.
Treatment for Severe Tooth Pain
If you are experiencing these persistent, severe symptoms, make an appointment to see a dental professional in our office as soon as possible. Depending on the cause of your severe pain, treatment may involve filling, bonding, root canal therapy, or other procedures. It is pertinent that you seek dental treatment to avoid a future dental emergency caused by the severe tooth pain.
Contact Bluff Creek Dental
No matter what type of tooth pain or discomfort you are experiencing, it is important to seek treatment if it persists. Please contact Bluff Creek Dental to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.